Biography from The Rumi Forum:
The name Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for Love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual and literary figures of all time and was the founder of the Mawlawi Sufi order. He was born in Wakhsh (Tajikistan) under the administration of Balkh in September 30, 1207 to a family of learned theologians.
His father Baha’ al-Din Walad (Bahauddin), was a religious scholar and Sufi who with the advent of Mongol invasion of Central Asia took his family westward, visiting Damascus and Naishapur on the way to the Hijaz. Here, the young Jalal al-Din (Jalaladdin) met and received the blessing of Farid al-Din (Fariduddin) Attar, the outstanding Sufi poet of the day, whom he was to succeed in the annals of Persian Sufi poetry. He is reported to have said, as he saw Bahauddin walking toward him with the young Rumi a little behind, “Here comes a sea, followed by an ocean!” . The family made the pilgrimage to Mecca and then set out northward to Anatolia and settled down in the city of Konya, Turkey. It was here that Rumi was to spent his forty-some years of his life, where he composed his peerless works, and where he received the inspiration for sacred music and dervishes. Rumi became like his father, a religious scholar and mastered the sciences of his day. He was also initiated into the mysteries of Sufism. But it was the meeting with the mysterious Sufi, Shams al-Din Tabrizi (Shams), that set his soul on fire and turned him into an incomparable poet of Divine Love and Illumination.
Rumi composed his Mathnawi and Divan-i Shams, the monumental works devoted to gnosis and divine ecstasy, following the encounter with Shams which changed the literary and spiritual landscape of Persian and Turkish worlds. Rumi was not a poet who happened to practice Sufism, but great Sufi master the rhythms of whose soul were expressed in poetry. He founded the Mathnawi Order, which exercised such a profound influence in the Ottoman world as well as its poetic and musical arts. He became a luminous star for both Persian and Turkish speaking worlds and his influence in these worlds subsists to this day. Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi died on December 17, 1273. Men of five faiths followed his bier. That night was named Sebul Arus(Night of Union). Ever since, the Mawlawi dervishes have kept that date as a festival.
Now Rumi, one of the most universal of Islamic Saints, is becoming known to West and the light of his teachings are beginning to illuminate the hearts and minds of many in the occident as it has guided numerous generations of world during past seven centuries.
Rumi Quotes & Writings
Favorite selections from the writings of Jaluddin Rumi, Sufi saint and mystic…
Come out from under your fear, you who are so fond of hiding and running away. Don’t cover your face. The world is reeling, its heart so sick.
And you are one who can serve as an influence for good.
Don’t hide the candle of your clarity. Be with people. Lead the way.
Be a leader of Souls by example.
Whoever has heard of me, let him prepare to come and see me; whoever desires me, let him search for me. He will find me – then let him choose none other than I. -Shams- i Tabriz
The Guest House
This being human is a guest- house.
Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, Who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture. Still, treat each guest honorably. Who may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street, and being the noise. Close both eyes to see with the other eye. Open your hands, if you want to be held. Sit down in this circle. Quit acting like a wolf, and feel the shepherd’s love filling you…. Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.
The Root of the Root Of Your Self
Don’t go away, come near… Don’t be faithless, be faithful..
Find the antidote in the venom, the blessings in the questioning
Come, come to the root of the root of yourself …
Once you get hold of selflessness, you will be dragged from your ego and freed of its many insecurities, its snares, and traps…
You are born from the children of God’s creation; but you have fixed your sight, your view of yourself too low… How by looking down, can you become happy? …
You were born as a ray of God’s majesty,, and you have the blessings of a good star. Why suffer at the hands of things that do not exist? That confuse the mind, and feed your heart full of fears?
Do you not see yourself? You are a ruby within granite… How long will you pretend that its not true?
Come, come back to the root of the root of yourself…
Love Is a Stranger translated by Kabir Helminski
Forget Your Life
Forget your life… Just say, God is great, and then get up! Get out of your bed… It is the morning of life…
You know what time it is; it is time to pray! It is time to go your way…
Now, reach out, grasp the door, go our into the world,
Go down the street and into the neighborhood where everyone say, “How are you?” And no one says to you, ” How aren’t you?”
Inside you, each morning, arises an artist who creates your day, yet as an artist does not care how things look different in moonlight…
They face the day, each day…
If you are unfaithfully with us, with each day, then you are causing terribnle damage. If, however, you are open to your loving, open to unrestricted God’s love, divine compassion, then you are helping people you do not know, and never have seen…
Is what I say true? Say yes, quickly!
If you know, of you have known it proclaim it, for it has been with you since the beginning of the universe.
Where there is pain, cures will be found.
Where there is poverty, wealth will be supplied.
Where there are questions in your life, there will be answers.
So spend less time worrying, and more time trusting…
When your heart is dark as iron, steadily polish yourself, that the heart may become a mirror, a beautiful shine reflecting from within.
Although iron is dark and dismal, polishing clears the darkness away.
Today, like every day, we wake up hollow and frightened…
So do not open the door to the study and begin reading and working
Instead go, reach for music, play an instrument
Let the beauty we love be what we do
There are hundreds of ways to kneel, and kiss the ground.
“The report of a Lion spread throughout all parts of the world and a man, marveling at the rumor, made for that thicket from a far distance in order to see the Lion. For a year, he endured the rigors of the road and traveled from stage to stage, and when he arrived at the thicket and spied the Lion from afar, he stood still and could not advance any closer.
Why, they said to him, have you set out on such a long road out of love for this Lion? This Lion has a special quality; anyone who approaches him boldly and lovingly rubs his hand upon him is unharmed by the Lion, but if anyone is afraid and timorous, the Lion is enraged against him.
The Lion attacked some, saying, What is this bad opinion you have of me? For such a creature you have trudged on for years and now you have arrived near me. Why do you now stand still? Advance one step more. But no one had the courage to advance a further step. All said, the steps that we took hitherto were easy, we cannot take one step nearer.
Faith is that step; to take that step in the presence of the Lion towards the Lion. There is a moment when you realize that everything that the mystics have told you is true, so true that it is the only truth. You cannot hide anymore from the reality of the Light, from the reality of the fire, from the reality of Divine Love. There is a moment when you have to face with every cell and with breath of your body, and every thought in your mind, that the only reality is the Divine Knowledge, the Divine Love, and the Divine Light.
And that moment you reel, because you are looking at the Lion in the face, the Lion of glory, the Lion of love, the Lion of passion, that is going to kill you with love. It is going to kill you . Because if you really face what you are coming to know, you are facing the necessity of abandon, sacrifice, adoration, and transformation. You are committing yourself to the journey without end; you are taking all your clothes off like St. Francis and going completed naked into nowhere. But at that moment when you realize that you have to take one step towards the Lion, in the presence of the Lion you say to yourself, ” Heart, be brave. If you cannot be brave, just go. Love’s glory is not a small thing.”
Taken from The Way of Passion page 89 -90 by Andrew Harvey